“The endeavor to genuinely love engages all our emotions.” 
Imagine if love’s goodness includes facing the obstacle that challenges us? Which, of course, seems counterintuitive. If love is genuine, it should be experienced as uplifting, inspiring, or consoling, right? Any indication otherwise refutes it as satisfying the auspices of love.
Yet what if authentic love insists on not being limited? What if love means engaging ALL of our emotions? Those we gravitate to, such as a sense of belonging, intimacy, trustfulness, and tenderness, and those we do our utmost to avoid: raw, fierce, deeply honest, and fearful emotions.
Loving this way makes a “…personal, spiritual, ethical, and moral demand on us.”  An insistent love, yes, but a wholly inclusive one. A love not separated from the truth but bound up in it. A love that is inconvenient and even hurtful at times. But a love that also moves us beyond sentiment and into the realm of trustful connections, authentic living, and even joy.
Prayer: On this St. Valentine’s Day, Limitless One, we give thanks that your summons to love authentically is not in opposition to living joyfully. Instead, in your fierceness and fullness, you seek to complete us, humankind, and all Creation. May we, as your children, incarnate your love, a love not separated from the truth but bound up in it. We ask this in all the holy names of God. Amen.
 Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis, an author and activist, Rev. Lewis is the Senior Minister for Public Theology and Transformation at Middle Church in NYC